Fourth-year medical students from the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) received residency assignments today during a Match Day ceremony at The Grove in Reno.
An honored medical school tradition, an annual rite of passage and one of the most pivotal moments in medical education, Match Day is simultaneously observed by approximately 18,000 medical students around the country to reveal where they will complete their residencies, the next step toward becoming practicing physicians.
With friends and families at their sides, fourth-year UNR Med medical students learned where they will spend their residencies - including in northern Nevada, throughout the state and across the nation.
"UNR Med is dedicated to increasing the number of physicians in Nevada by educating more medical students, retaining them as residents and ultimately as practicing physicians," said UNR Med Dean, Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. "We're thrilled to find that six students will be staying in northern Nevada and 16 students have matched throughout the state for some portion of their training. The fact that students want to train in Nevada supports our goal of training physicians who recognize the health care needs in our community and are committed to staying or coming back to Nevada. This is a major component of our community-based and community-engaged curriculum model."
Residency training location is a strong indication of where physicians will likely set up their medical practices following completion of residency and has strong implications for the future availability of health care professionals in a given area.
Approximately 27 percent of UNR Med students are staying in Nevada for some part of their training, and 43 percent matched in primary care, which includes family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics, pediatrics and obstetrics/gynecology.
Access to graduate medical training programs for residencies and fellowships is a competitive process known as "The Match." Medical students begin the application process at the start of the fourth year of medical school. After applications and interviews, both medical students and residency programs create ranked lists of their preferences. Binding contracts are signed in advance to honor the results.
The National Resident Matching Program is a private, not-for-profit organization, which uses a Nobel Prize-winning, computerized mathematical algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with those of program directors in order to produce the best possible outcome for filling training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals
Over the past 50 years, the School of Medicine has undergone significant positive and transformative growth. Match Day is no exception. UNR Med has taken a unique approach to the most anticipated day of the year for graduating medical students. UNR Med celebrates the Match Day milestone with a surprise theme, taking memorability to the next level.
This year, the celebration was taken down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures as UNR Med channeled the tale of Alice in Wonderland. The Class of 2019 arrived to find The Grove transformed into a Wonderland-themed soiree, complete with a Mad Tea Party and treats inspired by the novel, labeled "DRINK ME" and "EAT ME."
Just like Alice, the students became "curiouser and cusiouser" as their eyes fixed upon a tree adorned with dozens of golden pocket watches, nearly identical to the one White Rabbit carried. Instead of envelopes, as is the standard at many institutions, students located their personalized pocket watches. At precisely 9 a.m., each student opened their watch, revealing a working clock displaying the name of the residency program that will become their home for the next several years.
As screams, kisses, hugs, joyful shouts and tears from students, their families and loved ones filled the room, lines from Lewis Carroll's original 1865 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland came to life. "It's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then," and "I knew who I was this morning but I've changed a few times since then," became palpable through the excitement of the UNR Med Class of 2019.